Published on 08 Feb 2012
"The big advantage of the approach taken by IBM and ON2IT is that it provides us with long-term protection. Because we are a public establishment, any investments we make must be designed to last for a number of years." - – Giovanni Pradelli, Systems Manager Christian Hospital Centre.
Christian Hospital Centre
Integrated Service Management & Security Framework, Cloud & Service Management, Systems Management, Systems & Network Management
IBM Business Partner:
Made up of six clinics, convalescent homes and 10 or so polyclinics in the province of Liège, Belgium, CHC (Christian Hospital Centre) is a care network where cutting-edge technology and top-quality service provides patients with highly effective treatment
The Christian Hospital Centre (CHC) boasts a large infrastructure which is spread across a number of different sites. Numerous security problems caused by viruses and malware led CHC to revise its security defences with the aim to protect the infrastructure against any possible threats in the future.
CHC worked with IBM and ON2IT, an IBM Business Partner, to build a security solution based on IBM Security Solutions and Tivoli Endpoint Manager. The solution makes it possible to halt any attempted intrusion before it manages to penetrate the infrastructure and anticipates future threats. In addition, it enables CHC to provide near real-time remediation of endpoint issues.
• Enables pro-active security for a heterogeneous multi-site IT infrastructure on three levels: network, endpoints and servers. • Helps anticipate future threats and provides automated visibility and control. • Offers integrated security, configuration management and lifecycle management in a single agent solution. • Frees up the equivalent of a full-time IT person, due to 50% reduction in helpdesk calls.
Made up of six clinics, convalescent homes and 10 or so polyclinics in the province of Liège, Belgium, CHC (Christian Hospital Centre) is a care network where cutting-edge technology and top-quality service provides patients with highly effective treatment – with a human face.
In January 2009, Saint-Joseph clinic, one of the units at CHC, experienced numerous security problems caused by viruses and malware, in particular by the infamous Conficker worm. The effects of these problems included workstations and servers being taken out of service and the need to reboot workstations several times a day. This resulted in significant general disruption to work at the clinic. Fortunately, no critical services were impacted by these incidents, but it is easy to imagine what might have happened had this been the case.
As the clinic is a long-established client of IBM, the alarm was quickly raised through the IBM account manager of IBM Internet Security Systems (now part of IBM Tivoli). In a partnership with ON2IT Belgium, an IBM Tivoli Security Business Partner, IBM implemented a solution for CHC.
Ahead of the threat
“When the Clinic first contacted us,” recalls Manu Luyten, Sales manager ON2IT, “we were faced with a dual challenge. To begin with, we had to overcome the infection as quickly as we could so that staff could resume their normal work. Then once that had been done, we had to come up with a new approach for the overall security of the CHC network.”
After a brief analysis, ON2IT suggested a Proof of Concept that was in line with its usual philosophy: stay ahead of the threat and provide automated visibility and control. The key aim of the project was to provide a solution that was not only capable of dealing with the crisis, but which could also keep one step ahead and protect the infrastructure against any possible threats in the future.
“The big advantage of the approach taken by IBM ISS is that it provides us with long-term protection,” says Giovanni Pradelli, CHC’s Systems Manager. “Because we are a public establishment, any investments we make must be designed to last for a number of years.”
One of the challenges to implementing a security solution is to anticipate future threats. This is made more difficult by the fact that the threats being encountered today are not necessarily the same as the ones that may crop up tomorrow. Which is why IBM Tivoli gives priority to proactive security solutions capable of guaranteeing a healthy infrastructure in the long term.
A number of good examples of this approach were installed within the CHC infrastructure. To begin with, there is the IBM Security Solutions (formerly Internet Security Systems) portfolio on the three levels of IT infrastructure: network, endpoints and servers. This makes it possible to halt any attempted intrusion before it manages to penetrate the infrastructure. Instead of responding to the signature of a virus – which is likely to change at any moment – it reacts to what the virus is trying to do within the environment. Second, there is Tivoli Endpoint Manager, built on BigFix technology, providing integrated security, configuration management and lifecycle management in a single agent solution.
Multi-level, multi-site protection
One of the central points for upgrading the strategy for the CHC network has been the implementation of vulnerability assessment and management solution. “This tool provides a constant general overview of potential weak spots within our network,” says Pradelli. “This is especially important in an environment as heterogeneous as CHC’s. We have a multi-site network that includes both conventional IT applications, as well as medical applications. The guarantee that a scanner is constantly monitoring the organization’s infrastructure provides us with great peace of mind. Better still, we have found that the solution has enabled us to save personnel resources in the helpdesk team. We have been able to re-allocate at least the equivalent of a full-time IT person, who is now allocated to other tasks focusing on our core business.”
“Added to this is the ability to benefit from the virtual patching service provided by X-force, the research and development team at IBM ISS. Whenever a new flaw is discovered, X-force designs a virtual patch and makes it available very quickly to IBM customers. This makes it possible to ensure permanent protection against the potential weaknesses in some software programs. This is much more effective and doesn’t require us to install each new patch immediately.”
The project provided ON2IT the opportunity to install a totally new technology: IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager, based on BigFix technology, a single agent security and lifecycle management suite for workstations and servers.
“While we were implementing the new system, we became aware of another benefit not strictly linked to security,” adds Manu Luyten. “Integrated asset, change and configuration management, providing among others: automatic software upgrades, security configuration and hardening. This solution is capable to automate most actions that a helpdesk engineer would otherwise have to execute manually. And all this is done remotely and automatically. This is a significant advantage for a client who has to manage such a large infrastructure spread across a number of different sites. Using a very simple central interface, our client is able to quickly upgrade workstations without having to move from one site to another. This applies not only to Windows, but also to Linux and Mac.”
Luyten explains the IBM Tivoli approach: “The IBM security framework offers a high level of openness. In fact, all the elements in the security suite are very easily interchangeable. For example, the antivirus system we installed on the CHC network comes from another vendor, simply because that particular vendor has the best solution on the market for the particular need of our client.”
Giovanni Pradelli comments on the results of the project: “Now that the implementation is behind us, things are going very well and everything is very transparent for users and our helpdesk. We have observed an astonishing reduction of helpdesk calls of more than 50%. In fact, our users to whom the solutions has been installed are totally unaware of this – except, of course, when their workstation started operating again.”
ON2IT, part of the SAGA Group, specialises in IT security & lifecycle management. We provide highly skilled consulting and managed security services, assisting our customers in gaining visibility, control and automation over the entire IT infrastructure using next generation security technologies.
About IBM Security Solutions
Security is intrinsic to your business processes, development and daily operations. It should be factored into the initial design of any IT or critical infrastructure solution, not bolted on after the fact. This preemptive approach of IBM Security Solutions can allow you to securely, safely, and confidently adopt new forms of technology. Cloud computing, virtualization, smart grids, business models like tele-working and outsourcing, can be more safely leveraged for cost benefit, innovation and shorter time to market. Through world-class solutions that address risk across each aspect of your business, IBM can help you build a strong security posture that positions you to reap the rewards of emerging technology trends. IBM’s offerings include software, hardware and services covering all IT security domains.
• IBM Security Solutions
• IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager
IBM Business Partner
• Enables pro-active security for a heterogeneous multi-site IT infrastructure on three levels: network, endpoints and servers.
• Helps anticipate future threats and provides automated visibility and control.
• Offers integrated security, configuration management and lifecycle management in a single agent solution.
• Frees up the equivalent of a full-time IT person, due to 50% reduction in helpdesk calls.
For more information
To learn more about IBM Security software, contact your IBM sales representative or visit ibm.com/be/itsolutions/security/
To learn more about products, services and solutions from ON2IT, visit: www.on2it.be
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